The Consequences of Responsibility in Dubliners
James Joyce wrote a book of stories called Dubliners discussing different people’s lives in Dublin. In writing these stories, Joyce tries to portray in the characters a sense of sadness and pressure to do what is expected in society. When he wrote the book it was during a rough time in Dublin. Therefore, the issues that he discusses in the different stories show how the lives of the people were not as happy as they all wished. In the stories “Eveline,” “The Boarding House,” and “The Dead,” each one of the characters find some form of light at the end of the story which gives them a new start on their lives. “Eveline” is a story about a girl who wants to escape from her life at home and marry a man that loves her. However, she is torn between her promise to her mother to stay in this miserable place and her fiancé that wants to take her away from it all and give her a better life. With the story “The Boarding House,” Bob Doran has to figure out if he is ready to take the responsibility of marrying a girl and saving his good status. The final story, “The Dead,” is about a husband and wife trying to figure out their lives. The husband, Gabriel, has to accept that the woman he has been in love with is really not who he thought she was, and the wife Gretta finally takes the responsibility to tell her husband about her one and only love and let her sadness end. In Dubliners, when the characters take on responsibility, the consequences are dark.
In the story “Eveline,” the obligations that Eveline has to many people in her life are portrayed as dark and depressing. Eveline worries about breaking her promise to her mother about staying home, since if she marries Frank she has to leave. She says, “Her promise [to her mother] to keep the home together as long as she could” (33), put her in the situation where through out her life her promise to her mother would always be in the back of her mind. It caused her to feel obligated to stay home, which she felt made her more miserable. With Evelin’s obligation to her father, she was forced upon by her decision to obey her mother’s wishes. It made it hard for Eveline to want to stay in Dubline because of how her father treated her,” he had begun to threaten her and say what he would to do her only for her dead mother’s sake” (30) even after that Eveline still felt obligated to help her father. His meanness caused a depressing feeling over Eveline. After her mother died and she was obligated to take on her mother’s role, she says, “It was hard work- hard life” (31); she did it for her friends, family, and especially her mother. Eveline’s obligation to her mother and father causes her consequence for her dark emotions at times.
Eveline also feels obligated to her friends and her fiancé Frank, which made her trying to make her decision frustrating at times. Eveline felt she had an obligation to her friends and especially...